September – The Beat of a Barista

Loretta Lloyd, one of the trainers of the Certificate II in Hospitality Kitchen Operations at Westernport SC sent in this inspiring story about one of our SBAT Trainees.

The Beat of a Barista – Loretta Lloyd

Braydon Cartwright is 16, from Westernport SC and commenced the Hospitality SBAT program at the beginning of 2014. He had never been employed before and was apprehensive, lacking any confidence in feeling work ready.

It has been my practice as facilitator over many years of working with SBAT students to not only bring together a hardworking and dedicated team but also, and most importantly long term, to probe and guide students into locating their individual motivations, passions, dreams and ways of achieving them. It took a matter of two weeks into the program before I pin pointed Braydon‘s passion – listening (sometimes inappropriately in theory sessions) and playing music. He was in great dilemma because his drum tuition sessions were clashing with my sessions on a Monday. I was given an opportunity to negotiate with Braydon that he could take the time off for his session each week, if he applied himself with more focus when in my sessions. These negotiations don’t always succeed but credit to Braydon’s character; he stuck to his end of the bargain.

Term 1 we were also in preparation of the soon to be open SBAT hospitality school café (Coffee & Conversation), first agenda was the students learning theory and practical, Barista style coffee making skills. After one of our vigorous practical sessions with steam in faces and swerving hot water flickers, I concluded the session by telling the students that Melbourne’s current hospitality climate means,” if you can make a great coffee, you will never be out of work!”   I explained that hospitality may not be every students’ long term goal but spoke to them about how fabulous a vocation it can be to springboard into other career paths and/or to be used for travel (New York venues now recruit Melbourne Barista’s for their Melbourne style cafes that are increasing in popularity and numbers over there) or hospitality employment as a means of steady cash flow for other financial or educational goals

Braydon’s eyes were alight and he came to me after the session and said he really wanted a local job making coffee to earn some money to help him save. We discussed some strategies, one of which was to cold canvas local café’s once he had a little coffee making experience.

The following week as they practiced frothing techniques with hot water and detergent, Braydon asked if he could stay in at lunchtime and keep practicing. The weeks to follow, he was the first to volunteer to make coffee for customers, practiced in his own time, fastidiously combed through his coffee theory modules, took ownership and care of the machine and won trainee of the month for his efforts!

A week or two later, he came in beaming. Braydon had walked into a café with his resume and the employer asked if he could make coffee to which he said “yes”. She asked him to make one on the spot and was so impressed, hired him on the spot!

Over three terms, Braydon continued to be excused from class to attend his drum tuition, he continued to make up the theory time with me that he missed, in his own time, he continued to be one of the strongest coffee makers of the group and took great pride in his school based café role….all the while working his other job. I watched his confidence grow and his work ethic hone and develop. And as this was occurring, Braydon used his passion to motivate him, his motivation to drive him closer to a goal that would in turn, bring him far closer to his passion. Braydon text me with the photo below to tell me he had used his hospitality employment to save and had just purchased his very first drum kit!

There were a few minor teething problems, like where to set it up so as not to annoy the neighbours??!!. But he was ecstatic and I don’t believe he has quite come down from what he has achieved and he doesn’t need to.

Youth can often wrongly be identified as lazy, unmotivated and undisciplined. But like any of us….sometimes it is about being in the right environment to find the right motivation, seize an opportunity, develop a self-belief, then anything can be achieved.

I have been privileged to be utterly inspired by countless stories of personal and professional achievement by young SBATs over the years of facilitating ATEP (and their associated stakeholders) courses.

Congratulations to Braydon for what he has achieved on many levels this year, my only other stipulation to him was when he is touring the world and accepting his first music award, his very first gig at “Coffee and Conversation Café, better get a mention!! He beamed buoyantly and said “I will”.